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Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 2

Today, November 22nd, is the second day of our Thanksgiving week vacation.  Breakfast was from 7:00 am-10:00 am today at our hotel — the Best Western North East Inn, located in North East, MD.  We went downstairs for breakfast a little after 7:00 am.  Because of COVID-19 breakfast wasn’t the hotel’s typical full hot breakfast, served buffet style.  Breakfast was still good, though, with selections individually wrapped.  I had a hot egg and bacon sandwich, applesauce, a banana, orange juice, a chocolate chip muffin, and a cup of tea.  Bob picked up similar selections.  We carried our breakfast to our room on a tray and ate there.

We checked out of the hotel around 8:40 am and began the last leg of our drive.  Today’s destination is Chincoteague, VA.  As was the case yesterday, the GPS is programmed to avoid highways.

We made a bathroom stop in Cambridge MD at the Dorchester County Visitor Center.  A monument caught my eye.

This is the “Flying goose” monument fountain.

You can see the “Flying Goose” from several viewpoints or see it up close.

“Flying Goose” monument fountain

Returning to our car from the “Flying Goose” monument, we spotted a lighthouse off in the distance.

View of Choptank River Lighthouse from Dorchester County Visitor Center

We hopped into the car, drove 1 mile to Long Wharf Park and parked the car.

Bob and I with the Choptank River Lighthouse in the background

Choptank River Lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

and one last photograph of the picturesque lighthouse

Choptank River Lighthouse

At 12:15 pm we met Tom and his girlfriend, Ellen, for lunch at Evolution Craft Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD.  We sat outside and ate our lunch.   

Lunch with friends at EVO Brewery in Salisbury, MD

Bob ordered a pulled pork sandwich with French fries; Tom ordered a brisket sandwich with French fries; and Ellen and I ordered  Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream. 

Brioche French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream

A little background … Tom graduated with Bob’s brother, John, who is 9 years older than Bob.  When we got together for lunch, I believed that I had never met Tom and that Bob and Tom hadn’t seen each other since high school.  During lunch Tom mentioned John’s 50th birthday, and I had a vague recollection of a photograph taken during John’s 50th birthday celebration.  I found that photograph, upon our return home.

Photograph Taken on the Occasion of John’s 50th Birthday (October 2000)

Apparently in October 2000 Tom, his wife Anne (who died in May 2019), and Bob and I celebrated John’s 50th birthday together.  The four of us are in the back row on the left.  

… Fast forward to 2018 …  

Bob and Tom became Facebook friends in August 2018.  Tom and I became friends on Facebook a few months later, in January 2019.  Tom likes photographs that I share on Facebook.  He has left many complimentary comments over the years.  We message each other occasionally too.  It was via Facebook Messenger that we made plans to meet on our way to Chincoteague, VA.  Tom, Bob and I believed an outdoor setting would be the safest way to meet, given COVID-19.   

… Back to the present …

Our respective lunches were delicious, and we enjoyed our time with both Tom and Ellen (whom we met for the first time today).  We hope to meet up again one day. 


I think it was 2:30 pm when we left the brewery.   We drove to Food Lion in Oak Hall, VA.  We picked up a few groceries and then drove to Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental in Chincoteague, VA.  We arrived at the rental shortly before 4:00 pm and got settled in.  Tranquil Shores is home through Saturday, November 28th.   

Our Airbnb rental was cleaned to COVID-19 standards.  We could smell the disinfectant, when we walked into the house.  The house was spotless.  When we stayed here before, pre-COVID, the refrigerator wasn’t completely emptied out in between guests.  The refrigerator was completely emptied, when we arrived today.  The empty refrigerator, in and of itself, gave me that little extra feeling of safety.

Tonight’s dinner was Sloppy Joes, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a small platter that contains 8 slices of cheesecake, four different flavors.  We will enjoy cheesecake for a few days this week. 



Thanksgiving Week Vacation Day 1

Today, November 21st, is the first day of our Thanksgiving week vacation.  We departed home at 6:10 am en route Chincoteague, VA.  Bob programmed the GPS to avoid highways.

About an hour later we stopped at Sheetz in Ridgway to pick up breakfast….egg burritos and coffee for Bob; egg sandwich and orange juice for me.

We made a brief photo stop in Biglerville, PA at the Historic Round Barn & Farm Market, a family owned and operated farm market that was built in1914.  It is one of only a handful of truly round barns surviving today. 

The Historic Round Barn

This barn is located only 8 miles from Gettysburg, which we have visited several times.  We saw this barn for the first time today.  We didn’t go inside today, but we did stop and shop on our way back home (more about that in a later blog post).

Our next photo stop was at Fisherman’s Park at Conowingo Dam, where we saw several eagles, lots and lots of vultures and a couple other birds.

The Conowingo Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the lower Susquehanna River, located near the town of Conowingo, Maryland.

Three vultures in a row

There was a sign at the dam that warned “Vultures may cause damage to vehicles. Park at your own risk.”

I have shown only four vultures.  There were lots and lots and lots of vultures everywhere you looked.

a lone cormorant

A Great Blue Heron flew by.

The highlight of the stop at Conowingo Dam, though, were the eagles.  I had seen photographs on Facebook of the Conowingo Dam eagles.  I read that the end of October to the beginning of January is the time to visit the dam, if you want to see eagles.  I have wanted to see the Conowingo Dam eagles for sometime now.  I was not disappointed.

These two eagles were perched in a tree near where we parked our car.

I took several photographs of eagles in flight.

Eagle in Flight

Eagle in flight

Eagle in flight

Two eagles in flight

and my favorite eagle picture …

Two Eagles, one with a fish

From Fisherman’s Park we drove over the Conowingo Dam.  It was a short distance to our hotel.

We checked into the Best Western North East Inn in North East, MD around 2:30 pm.  The hotel is our home for the night.  We will drive from here to Chincoteague, VA tomorrow.

Tonight’s dinner was take-out at Hunan Wok, located across the road from our hotel.  Bob ordered shrimp with broccoli; I ordered Sweet n Sour Chicken.  Both meals were served with Roast Pork Fried Rice and Egg Roll.  Our meals were reasonably priced and tasted good.  We ordered by phone and drove across the road to pick up our take-out dinners.  We ate in the comfort of our hotel room.

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 3: Egrets and More

After our bicycle ride on the Wildlife Loop at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, we went for a drive along Beach Access Road, stopping for wildlife photo opportunities.

Snowy Egret

Yellow Feet

Snowy Egret, Taking Flight

Snowy Egret, Taking Flight


Snowy Egret


Snowy Egret (top) and Great Egret (bottom)

Thank you, EileeninMD, for the bird ID.

Around noon we decided to drive to Assateague Island, MD.  Along the way, we stopped at a deli and picked up cold cut sandwiches, cookies and honey roasted nuts.  We ate a picnic lunch at a picnic table, located in a pavilion, along the Assateague Island National Seashore.  After lunch we walked to the seashore. 

Assateague Island National Seashore, MD

We drove along the Stephen Decatur Memorial Road / Bayberry Drive, as well as side roads, and didn’t see any horses.  We didn’t walk any trails.  Last year, when we visited Assateague Island, MD for the first time, we did see horses and we did walk the trails.  Here are links from last year’s visit:

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD
This blog post shows the route that we took last year from Virginia to Maryland. We took the same route this year.

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Dunes Trail

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Forest Trail

Easter Vacation – Assateague Island, MD: Life of the Marsh Trail

We had planned to make a return trip to Assateague Island, MD during vacation, but that return visit never happened.


On our way back to Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental, we stopped at Food Lion and picked up a couple items for dinner.  Our dinner was leftover chicken and naked chicken wings, leftover coleslaw, potato salad and, for dessert, more cheesecake.

It rained in the evening, accompanied by thunder and lightning.  We saw a high temperature of 81 degrees.  The rest of the week was cooler and dry.  By the way it did not feel like 81 degrees, while we were at Assateague Island, MD.  I wore a hoodie, with the hood up, and was still cold!  The wind was brutal.

We watched three episodes of NYPD Blue and then went to bed.

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 2: Annapolis, MD to Chincoteague, VA

On Sunday, April 7th, at 7:10 am we departed the Best Western Annapolis and continued our drive to Chincoteague, VA.

We crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge about 10 minutes later.

Our first stop at 9:00 am was at the Salisbury Zoological Park in Salisbury, MD.  We arrived just as the zoo was opening.  

Salisbury Zoo – East Gate Entrance

We spent a couple hours walking around this wonderful, free zoo.  I created this slideshow to share with you some of the birds and animals that we saw, while at the zoo.

This was Bob’s first time at the Salisbury Zoo; it was my second visit.  My first visit was more than 30 years ago in August 1982.

Our second stop was for lunch at Subway at the intersection of Routes 13 and175.

After lunch, we crossed Route 13 and took Route 175 to Chincoteague Island, VA.

Our third stop was at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, located on Assateague Island, VA. 

Located on the East Coast along the Atlantic Ocean in Maryland and Virginia, Assateague Island is the largest, natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region that remains predominantly unaffected by human development. The Virginia portion of the island is designated as the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of 448 acres in the refuge’s Toms Cove area maintained by the National Park Service.  These 448 acres are part of the Assateague Island National Seashore.  The Assateague State Park and the Assateague Island National Seashore are located on Assateague Island, MD.  This year marks our fifth visit to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague Island National Seashore, located on Assateague Island, VA.

Admission to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is $20.00, which is good for multiple days.  We didn’t have to pay the admission fee, as I purchased a National Park Service senior pass in February 2018, when I turned 62 years old.

We rode our bicycles on the Woodland Trail.   The Woodland Trail, which takes you through a pine forest, is 1.6 miles round trip, paved and wheelchair accessible.  The trail is open to both walkers and cyclists.  A couple years ago many of the pine trees were damaged by a southern pine beetle infestation. 

We went for a bicycle ride on the Woodland Trail. This boardwalk leads to an observation platform from which you may see wild ponies.

We looked for wild ponies from this observation platform. We didn’t see any ponies.

Leaving the Woodland Trail, we rode our bicycles on the Beach Access Road to the Assateague Island National Seashore and back to the Woodland Trail parking lot.


We saw two horses and riders at the beach.


Egrets are popular at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

We watched one egret, as it was hunting, standing immobile or wading through wetlands, to when it suddenly took flight.

Great Egret Hunting

Great Egret, Lift Off

Great Egret in Flight

Great Egret in Flight

We watched another egret standing in a tree.

Great Egret in a Tree

We rode our bicycles a total of 4.16 miles on Woodland Trail and to and from the beach.

We arrived at Tranquil Shores, our Airbnb rental, at approximately 3:00 pm–1 hour before check-in time. Tranquil Shores is located on Chincoteague Island, VA.  I telephoned our host shortly before we checked in to see if an early check in was possible (and it was).  Tranquil Shores was our home away from home for 5 nights.  I will publish a separate blog post pertaining to Tranquil Shores in the near future.

An hour later the car was unpacked.  At 4:40 pm we left to pick up some groceries.  We shopped at Food Lion at the intersection of Routes 13 and 175.  We picked up dinner, breakfast foods, snacks and beer. 

Tonight’s dinner was rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and, for dessert, cheesecake.  We purchased a sampler cheesecake platter, which lasted us through four dinners.

We watched a couple episodes of NYPD Blue and then went to bed. As a side note, we started watching NYPD Blue on Amazon Prime in early February this year.  NYPD Blue is an American police drama set in New York City, exploring the struggles of the fictional 15th Precinct detective squad in Manhattan.  The series was originally broadcast on the ABC network, debuted on September 21, 1993‚ and aired its final episode on March 1, 2005.  Bob says this was one of his favorite TV shows.  We both saw the series, when it aired.   We may or may not have seen each episode, though.  I certainly do not remember each episode’s story line.  There are 12 seasons, 261 episodes.  We watched Season 9 episodes, while on vacation.

Please check back soon for more blog posts about our Chincoteague vacation.

Chincoteague Vacation – Day 1: Warren, PA to Annapolis, MD

We departed home at 7;15 am on Saturday, April 6th, en route Chincoteague, VA.  We made a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was at 9:00 am for breakfast at The Dutch Pantry in Clearfield, PA.  We both had omelettes–a Western Omelet for me and a Veggie Omelet for Bob.  Accompanying Bob’s omelette was a strawberry yogurt, rye toast and coffee.  I ordered home fries, wheat toast and tea to accompany my omelet.  Our meals included a small apple fritter.   Breakfast was filling and delicious.  We were back on the road at 9:40 am.

Our second stop was at a rest area.

Crystal Springs, PA Rest Area on Interstate 70

The Crystal Springs Rest Area is a pretty place to stop, when you need a break from driving.

Our third stop was at 2:00 pm at Fort George Meade, MD.  Bob’s cousin moved recently from the state of Washington to Fort George Meade.  Because our route to Chincoteague would take us very near their new home we decided to pay a visit to Chris and his family, providing Amy was up for a visit.  Amy gave birth to their fourth child 5 days prior, and we weren’t sure if she would be up for a visit.  Amy wanted us to come, so that is what we did.  

Chris met us at the Demps Visitor Control Center and escorted us to his house.  We went through a vehicle inspection center, where our IDs were requested and they took down our license number.  Chris signed us onto the post.   We expected to have our car inspected; no inspection was performed.

We spent several hours with Bob’s cousins.  I got to hold 5-day-old Michael, and we got to spend a lot of time with David and Sarah.  Peter was sick, so we didn’t spend much time with him.  Chris, Bob, David, Sarah and I went to a nearby playground.  The children enjoyed swinging and digging in the sand. 

Back at the house David drew two maze games, one for Bob and the other for me.  As with any maze, we started at one point and had to find the right path to the exit. I was impressed that a 6-year-old boy drew such intricate mazes.  Sarah and I played with stickers.  Bob and I read to Sarah and David too.

Bob reading to his cousins, Sarah and David (photo by Chris)

Dinner was calzones with marina sauce, beans and brownies or honey cake for dessert.  Bob and I chose a slice of honey cake for dessert.  Dinner was delicious.

We enjoyed our visit with Chris, Amy and their children very much.  Thank you, Amy and Chris, for inviting us into your home and for dinner.

Our fiourth and last stop was at Best Western in Annapolis, where we spent the night.



Frederick County, MD Covered Bridges and a Waterfall

This is the second of three blog posts about our Winter Weekend Getaway in Shippensburg, PA.

Saturday, January 2, activities included a driving tour of three covered bridges in Frederick County, MD; hiking to Cunningham Falls near Thurmont, MD once in the morning and another time in the afternoon; and lunch at Mountain Gate Family Restaurant in Thurmont, MD. The three covered bridges that we saw were: Utica Mills Covered Bridge, Loy’s Station Park and Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

We began the tour of the covered bridges north of Frederick at the junction of US15 (Catoctin Mountain Highway) and Old Frederick Road. We turned right onto Old Frederick Road, which we followed for 1.5 miles.  We made a left onto Utica Road and arrived at Utica Mills Covered Bridge.

Utica Mills Covered Bridge

We returned to Old Frederick Road and make a left turn. We drove 3.9 miles to a stop sign, located in Creagerstown.  At the stop sign we turned left onto MD550. We drove 0.4 miles and made a right onto Old Frederick Road. We traveled an additional 2 miles and made a left into the parking lot of Loys Station Park.

Loys Station Covered Bridge

Loys Station Park would be a great place for a picnic.  The park includes picnic tables, grills, playground, covered shelters and portable bathroom facilities.

From the parking lot of Loys Station Park, we turned left and drove through the bridge. We drove 0.3 miles to a stop sign, where we made a left turn onto Rocky Ridge Road (MD77). We drove 2.7 miles on Rocky Ridge Road and turned right onto Apples Church Road in Thurmont. We followed Apples Church Road for 1.6 miles to the Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

Roddy Road Covered Bridge

I would like to thank Eileen, author of the Viewing Nature with Eileen blog, who gave me the heads up regarding these three covered bridges.  Thank you, Eileen!  We enjoyed visiting each of these covered bridges!

From the Roddy Road Covered Bridge we drove to Cunningham Falls State Park (William Houck Area entrance), where we followed the Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls.

Lower Falls Trail to Cunningham Falls

The Lower Falls Trail is the shortest and easiest access to Cunningham Falls.  The trail over rolling terrain is 0.5 miles long and terminates at a platform observation deck that provides a view of Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls

Located nearby, but not accessible, was another platform observation deck. We wondered how to access the other observation deck, as it appeared to provide a better vantage point from which to see Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls is not the only attraction at Cunningham Falls State Park.  Hunting Creek Lake is located in the park’s William Houck Area as well.

Hunting Creek Lake

After taking a couple pictures of the lake, we left Cunningham Falls State Park to go to lunch. We ate lunch at the Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, which was suggested to me by Eileen, the same person who gave me the heads up regarding the covered bridges.  Bob and I each ordered the buffet lunch. There were several foods to select from. We enjoyed our respective meals.

While at lunch I discovered that there was a nature trail from the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center to Cunningham Falls, to the other observation platform that we had seen in the morning. The trail was 2.8 miles round trip. We decided to hike this trail. Oh my! What a hike! The hike was mostly uphill. We climbed over tree roots and rocks.

Catoctin Mountain Nature Trail to Cunningham Falls
I drew an arrow on both photographs to show part of the trail.

I was very happy, when we reached the boardwalk to the falls.

Bob is on the boardwalk leading to Cunningham Falls.

Cunningham Falls

The view of the falls was nice, but I didn’t feel the view was any better than what we had seen in the morning. You can see the other viewing platform in the photograph displayed above.

Bob left me at the falls, and he took the nature trail back to the Catoctin Mountain Visitor Center. Bob said that I would have had trouble making the return trip on the trail, as it was downhill most of the way and a steep descent in places. Bob drove our car to the handicap parking lot next to the boardwalk and picked me up.

We returned to the hotel around 4:45 pm, where we remained for rest of the day.

Weekend in Annapolis – Day 3 (Last Day)

We spent the morning and part of the afternoon of Sunday, October 11th, in downtown Annapolis and at the United States Naval Academy. We took the 8:50AM shuttle bus from our hotel to downtown Annapolis. We walked once again to the Maryland State House, where I took another photograph from a different vantage point than that taken on Friday afternoon.

Maryland State House

After photographing the Maryland State House, we entered the U.S. Naval Academy via Gate 1 (Prince George & King George Street entrances). Only a photo ID was required for admission to the naval academy. Our first destination was the bay front. We enjoyed the view of the sailboats on Chesapeake Bay and those at the sailboat show. We were happy that we could see the boats and the bay without having to pay $17 each!


After taking in the view of the sailboats we visited Bancroft Hall and walked about the grounds of the naval academy.

Bancroft Hall

Memorial Hall

We saw everything we wanted to see, except the chapel interior and John Paul Jones’ crypt.  Neither the chapel nor the crypt would open until 1:30PM. We were at the crypt, finished with our self-guided tour of the naval academy, at 11:30AM. We opted not to stick around for 2 more hours, thus deciding not to see the chapel and John Paul Jones’ crypt.

U.S. Naval Academy Chapel

We ate lunch at Buddy’s Crabs and Ribs. We had eaten at this restaurant 11 years ago, when we first visited Annapolis. That visit to Annapolis was one of our first dates. The food at Buddy’s was as good now as it was then.

Would you like to see a photograph of Bob and me in Annapolis taken in May 1998? Yes? I thought you would. The picture displayed below was taken at the Annapolis Harbor. It gives you an idea what the harbor looks like when the sailboat show isn’t in town!

Weekend in Annapolis - Day 3 (Last Day)

After lunch we caught the 1:30 PM shuttle bus back to our hotel. We spent rest of the day napping and relaxing in our hotel room. We even ordered dinner delivered to our room — pizza and a side salad.


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